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McDonald’s Happy Meal ad criticized for focusing too much on toy instead of meal

By Minda Smiley | Reporter

May 15, 2015 | 3 min read

McDonald’s has come under fire for airing a Happy Meal ad that too heavily focused on its ‘Teenie Beanie Baby Boo’ toy rather that the food itself.

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), which is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, has told the fast-food chain to make sure future advertisements aimed at kids focus on the product and not the ‘premium,’ which in this case is the toy.

In the 30-second TV spot, two animated Happy Meal boxes are shown playing with a tube of yogurt. It then cuts to a child walking towards a Happy Meal box, saying “I am so excited to find out what’s in here,” with the meal itself beside the box, according to CARU.

Source: McDonald's

Throughout the rest of the video, different children are shown interacting with their Happy Meal toys. Although it ends with a shot of the Happy Meal including chicken McNuggets, French fries, a juice box a tube of yogurt, CARU argued that the spot advertised the toys more than the food items.

After reviewing the commercial, CARU “determined that the commercial’s primary focus was on the premium and that children would have difficulty distinguishing between the product and the premium.”

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McDonald’s defended the ad and said it is no longer running: “Although we believe that the ad primarily focuses the child’s attention on the product, McDonald’s respects the self-regulatory process and will take CARU’s comments into consideration when producing future ads," a company statement read.

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